C Lazy U Ranch names new general manager | SkyHiNews.com

C Lazy U Ranch names new general manager

From overseeing the guests' dining experience in the restaurant, to stepping up into the saddle in the horse barn, to guiding big game hunters on the ranch's property, Paul Klees, currently assistant general manager, has held a variety of roles at C Lazy U.
Brady Johnson/Courtesy Photo

C Lazy U Ranch in Granby is turning over a new chapter this fall, with the appointment of Paul Klees as general manager, starting Sept. 1.

David Craig, who has served as the ranch’s general manager for nine years and successfully navigated it through 2020’s East Troublesome Fire and COVID-19 pandemic, will transition to his new role as managing director at Canyon Ranch in Arizona.

Klees has worn many hats at C Lazy U during his 15-year tenure, from his start as a wrangler to his current role as assistant general manager. He has led horseback rides on miles of scenic trails over the ranch’s 8,500 acres, helped guests feel welcome over sunrise coffee during Woodsie Breakfast, assisted hunters in the field, and directed many facets of the ranch, from fine dining in the food and beverage department to land management in the working ranch department. 

Through his leadership roles, Klees has overseen many capital improvements, from creating the Lazy U Spa to building the hay barn event space to constructing the water treatment and wastewater treatment plants. Klees has also built out poplar winter activities including cross-country skiing and tubing.

Klees has received industry recognition for his efforts to provide top-notch hospitality to guests, and also for lending a helping hand to locals evacuating from the East Troublesome Fire. In 2021, he received a Star of the Industry Award from the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, and in April 2022, he was honored with the Top Frontline Workers Award by the Colorado Tourism Industry.

As he readies for his new role as GM, Klees spoke with Sky-Hi News about his well-rounded history with the ranch and his vision for the future.

Klees pours a cup of coffee for ranch guest Peter H. One of Klees’s favorite memories at C Lazy U has been serving the “Woodsie Breakfast” to guests at the camp above Willow Creek Reservoir.
Brady Johnson/Courtesy Photo

Sky-Hi: What do you enjoy most about working at C Lazy U?

Klees: I have really grown to love hospitality, but the true value of C Lazy U is the people. Our staff, guests and members make for an experience that you can’t replicate anywhere. I have been blessed with meeting some amazing people that I would call family. In addition to the people, I really enjoy the ranch land. There is something special about being able to steward and protect the land for future generations. 

What have your jobs and involvement been at the ranch?

I joined the ranch in 2007 as a seasonal wrangler under Bill Fisher. In 2007-2008, I worked over the winter holidays, and in May 2008 became year-round. I worked as an assistant head wrangler, then moved into the project manager role with the transition of ownership. While doing this, I assisted in the Outfitters Cabin as a concierge. From there, I moved into an Operations role, overseeing the Barn and Maintenance Department along with our Big Game Outfitters program and capital projects.  In 2018, I moved into the assistant general manager role with the addition of food & beverage oversight. 

What are you looking forward to most in your new role as general manager?

I’m looking forward to continuing to nurture the C Lazy U legacy … and being able to see and help the land and ranch recover from the fire. Also, continuing to work with the team members who have made this place special. I feel so fortunate to be part of such a great team and organization. 

What will your duties look like as GM?

They’ll revolve around preserving the experience that has been built over a 103-year legacy, while evolving and complimenting it in ways that make it sustainable and relevant. I was blessed with great mentors and leadership throughout my life and career.  This, with the goal and motivation to run a business, has made this a reality. It’s an honor to lead and support the incredible experiences that C Lazy U has to offer.

What is your favorite ranch memory? 

A memory that sticks out in my mind is the day the ranch reopened after the East Troublesome Fire. Seeing our team, members, guests and community come together to work through adversity was a true testament to the people around the C Lazy U brand. More recently, being able to share my wife’s and my first baby with the guests, staff and members who have become like family to me over the years has been incredible.

A few memories that I can’t get enough of: hosting Woodsie Breakfast and serving cowboy coffee, being out in the woods during hunting season, bringing the horses in from the pasture during the jingle, being MC for the “Showdeo” rodeo and 4th of July Parade, seeing the little kids run after Santa on Christmas Eve, and that one time I rode a bull in the indoor arena.  

Any well wishes or goodbyes for Dave?  

It has been a pleasure working with Dave throughout the years and I know that his leadership leaves behind big boots to fill, which is a challenge I’m eager and excited to meet head on. I personally really enjoyed “cowboying” him up from his city hotelier career and seeing him blend his standards and experience with the C Lazy U way.

Dave has been a true leader who has helped us through some trying times. COVID and East Troublesome Fire were two events that hopefully only happen once in a person’s career. Dave led the team through both events, and we came out not only back in business, but in a place that the ranch is set up for the next 100 years.

Our staff greatly appreciates all that Dave has done for the community and we wish him the best of luck on his new endeavor. Thanks for your guidance and mentorship over your nine years at C Lazy U. You truly left the ranch in a better place. 

As C Lazy U looks toward the future with Klees at the helm, they have plenty of new projects in the works, including: rebuilding their historic hay barn, which was burned during the East Troublesome Fire, continuing to restore fire-damaged fences and trails, and renovations to offer guests modern amenities rooted in the traditions of the West. 

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